Tomorrow I leave for my first summer road trip. I’m a little nervous about it for a couple of reasons. For one, it’ll be the first real car trip with my son. We get to spend 11 hours together in my little car. Up until now, the longest we’ve been in the car together is a little over two hours. For two hours, I’m pretty sure I can keep him entertained. For nearly half a day, I’m not so sure.
To add the entertainment anxiety, I have two new electronic gadgets and I’m not sure how they are going to work. I got a portable DVD player for my son, only to realize that it won’t fit in the carrying case with the battery pack attached. I do have a car adapter for it, which normally wouldn’t be a huge problem, except that my other gadget is a GPS device that also needs to be plugged in to work. The whole point of the GPS is so that I don’t get lost on this cross-country road trip. If it’s not plugged in, I’m not sure how it is going to be any use to me. On the other hand, 11 hours without any type of entertainment for my little one may drive us both insane.
My anxiety is increased by the fact that I haven’t yet packed and I have a load of dishes I need to do sitting in my sink (oh, and clothes to fold). I have no idea what I will pack or wear and I know waiting like this is going to make me forget at least one thing. If it’s one of my typical trips, it’ll be my pajamas.
All of these are stressful enough, however, what is really making my stress levels go through the roof, is where we are going…to my mom’s. It just so happens that she lives near one of the most well-known Shakespeare theaters in the country. When I told her about the grant I had to study him this summer, she immediately suggested I come for a visit. What better opportunity than to see what is no doubt a wonderful production, with little cost to me. Afterall, I get to stay with them for free, most of my meals will be covered and my son will get a chance to visit with his grandmother. My only real costs are gas and theater tickets (and those were relatively cheap too–not great seats).
The problem is that I haven’t been to visit my mom since I was 22. She’s come to see me a few times over the year, but never for more than 48 hours. This will be four days (plus the two day drive). It’s not that I don’t love my mom, it’s just that we don’t always see eye to eye on things. Not to get in to the gory, emotional details, but we had a bit of a falling out when I was 14 and moved in with my dad. We didn’t speak for nearly 4 years and she has missed every important moment in my life.
Now, I try really hard not to hold any grudges. I’m trying to rebuild things, but that is much, much easier when she is nearly 700 miles away. It’s harder to argue, or to dredge up the past in an email or a phone conversation.
The last visit I had with her was chaotic to say the least. Not so much because of her. It had more to do with my two nephews who she brought with her. They are sweet kids, but they aren’t on any sort of schedule. My son is on a pretty strict one. Not inflexible, but one that works pretty darn well for us. He eats regularly and sleeps regularly (about 11 hours, plus a 2 hour nap) and it’s wonderful. I’m not sure how he’s going to react to their less than organized routine.
And how am I going to tell him it’s time for bed when his cousins are still running around, hooping, hollering and playing?
The next four days will either be stressful and filled with toddler arguments and trips down the bad memory lane, or they’ll be unbearable. I’m crossing my fingers for stressful.